Wednesday, January 7, 1998
What ever happened to Willows Restaurant on Hausten Street in Moiliili, the real place for Hawaii dining?
Bank is still trying
to sell Willows' site
Mounting debts and dwindling numbers of customers in Hawaii's stagnant economy led late owner Randy Lee to shut the 49-year-old restaurant in July 1993.
First Hawaiian Bank became the reluctant owner of the 49,500 square-foot property March 7, 1996, when a federal bankruptcy judge approved a bank bid of $3.6 million, the only bid in a foreclosure auction the previous month.
First Hawaiian was the biggest creditor when the restaurant closed earlier. It hoped to sell the site and recover money it was owed. "We still have it and are marketing it," said Gerry Keir, First Hawaiian senior vice president for communications. "Do you want to buy it?"
City officials had wanted the site for a housing project for the elderly. But after the City Council failed to approve the project, the property went to auction.
The Willows captured a dreamy Polynesian-style wonderland of an earlier era with thatched roofs, breezy lanais, fish ponds and strolling minstrels singing traditional songs -- complete with lei-bedecked waiters.
By Harold Morse, Star-Bulletin